Mothers with Arthritis, Child Care and Occupational Therapy: Insight through Case Studies

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The role of occupational therapy in the treatment of mothers with arthritis has received little attention in the research literature to date. This study builds on previous work at the Psychosocial Research Centre at Coventry University on the theme of parenting in the context of arthritis. Qualitative case studies were undertaken with four mothers with arthritis and the two occupational therapists involved in their care. This involved the observation of occupational therapy sessions, interviews with mothers and occupational therapists and the use of field notes. The data were analysed using the middle-order approach (Dey 1993). The middle-order categories that emerged were physical and psychosocial parenting problems, the level of support available to mothers and their experience of occupational therapy. The subcategories included items such as difficulty in carrying children and with physical play, guilt and anxiety about the ability to fulfil the parenting role, inadequate or too much support from partners and increased knowledge and confidence through occupational therapy. Broad, overarching themes evolving from these data included the significance of mothers' attitudes to parenting based on preconceived notions of motherhood, the psychological state of mothers and the nature of the support available from partners. The implications for practice include the importance of nurturing a mother's own problem-solving strategies and balancing the physical and psychosocial aspects of intervention according to her needs.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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